tv Panel on Sexual Assault Womens Rights at Atlantic Festival CSPAN October 5, 2018 7:41pm-8:01pm EDT
>> tonight and iowa democratic hisressman will debate challenger at 8:00 p.m. eastern at the university of northern iowa in cedar falls. republican montana conklin debates his challenger. live coverage starts at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> next a discussion on sexual assault prevention and women's rights with the head of the national mistake workers align. -- alliance. as part of a festival in washington. it is just under 20 minutes. >> good morning. [applause] good morning, everybody. justice breyer just very wisely stayed away from the news
unfolding a few blocks away from us today. we are not going to. we will dive right in. i knew that this would be a timely conversation to be having. i don't think any of us could have predicted quite the national debate we would be engaged in this week today about women and assault and rage and truth. so i want to start there and throw a question, just a quick response from both of you, where are we in the arc of #metoo? where does this kavanaugh-christine blasey ford end? if harvey weinstein was a book and come are we have the end of act one come act two? where do we stand?
>> thanks to the long-standing leadership like women like toronto burke and and anita hill and over the course of the last year, the incredible courage on the part of thousands of survivors who have come forward to speak their truths, we are finally having a cultural conversation about the reality of sexual assault and harassment in our society. a truth telling that is so long overdue and profound. we are starting to see leaders in the private sector and in government really respond to that truth telling and seek out solutions, and i think what we are seeing, unfortunately, in the senate right now is leaders trying to take us in the exact opposite direction. and a real response on the part of women and survivors all over the country to say no, we will not go back, we will continue to take this forward. >> caitlin, where are we in the arc of #metoo? >> being 56, i see the ark
arc beginning before the movement. to 35 years ago, when women said, this is a big problem. women got together, feminist women got together and created the idea of date rape and courts quickly heard cases on it and said, yes, men cannot force sex because it is a date, social event. and a long time has passed, and by now i would have thought, that problem got solved. but it seems like it has not been solved at all. so i don't -- i want to have a positive feeling in this moment, but i think it is a big moment because a lot of people are saying, does it count, doesn't it matter? or does it not matter to you? >> i have been trying to cling to something positive in what has been a really painful last week, whatever your politics. and let me put this somewhat controversial idea to you both. the word "lucky" is not the first where that would come to mind to describe christine
blasey ford. if you watched her struggle through that wrenching testimony last week, exactly a week ago today. but if you look at it from the point of view of a woman coming forward with an allegation of sexual assault and the whole u.s. senate stopped to hear it, the whole country stopped to listen for as long as she wanted to talk, is that progress? caitlin? >> so many people brought up the point that she seemed to be so grateful to be there and so polite, and that maybe that was a gendered thing, that women have to behave a certain way to be heard. that was part of it. but i thought what was so magnificent about it, her presentation, she reintroduced all of public life to the old- fashioned idea of humility.
she did have a big ask. you do not have witnesses or evidence beyond her testimony. there was reason for her to be humble. she sat there and had this truth that was to me, undeniable. i am 100% certain, i remember them laughing at me when i was struggling and afraid, and so, i think that in a way, it was extraordinary that somebody truly who doesn't have evidence and doesn't have -- and i can see why so many republicans, particularly republican men are saying this is outrageous, it is an allegation in the wind with nothing at all to corroborate it. i see why they were saying it is not appropriate. but as a woman who has been through something similar to that, i say i am very glad that there was a context in which it could happen. >> i want to follow up and let you tell some of your personal account. but you were in the hearing room last week. >> i was. >> does it feel like progress? >> i think it was -- as a survivor myself, i think
millions of us have experienced pieces of dr. blasey ford's truth. and it was incredible to bear witness to her courage. and it felt like giving voice to a pain and a truth and a human cost that we need to face. it was profound to be there and in stark contrast, i was really struck by what i thought was a palpable disdain on the part of some of the members of the judiciary committee. >> palpable disdain? >> yes, a failure to really recognize or even acknowledge our right to speak our truths. and to have justice in the situation. it was palpable, actually. it was like -- the lack of respect for women that i saw
demonstrated that day was visceral. >> i want to turn to today. you were telling me before we came out, there's a march planned that will go in two hours. a women's march headed to the supreme court. you lead the national domestic workers alliance, which represents domestic workers in the u.s. and many of your members have been fighting like hell against the kavanaugh confirmation. why? what is their stake in this? >> if you think about the domestic workers, it is the nannies who take care of our children, the home care workers, the isolation of working in the private home where there is no h.r. department, there is no other coworkers, the power imbalance that it leads to incredible vulnerability to abuse and harass --
>> where the person you can report it to us a person who was harassing you. it's profound. >> this is something that has been an issue that we have been talking about for years. and the courage on the part of survivors that have come forward in the last year has really inspired a new level of courage and defiance in our membership to say, we have an opportunity to actually address this former ability. >> get specific about that. this is a big criticism of the #metoo movement. it has allowed women in hollywood to speak their truth, or women in elite media circles to speak their trip and not so much for working-class women. >> i think the courage is contagious. one of the things that is defining at this moment of women's organizing is that women are actually supporting each other across industry, across community, and creating this space to allow for the least visible and most vulnerable among us to actually lead on solutions, so that no one is left behind. our current federal anti-discrimination and
harassment protections in the workplace require a minimum of 15 employees in order to have those protections. that effectively excludes the entire domestic care sector because you very rarely have 15 employees. so there are millions of women who are falling through the cracks. and we see this as an opportunity to actually transform that and update our policy for the 21st century. >> you were telling me something interesting with farmworkers. what is going on there? >> farmworkers and domestic workers, those are workers who have been most systematically excluded from basic protections, are actually leading on solutions to say how do we update our policies, expand title vii protections to include all workers, regardless of the workplace, the number of employees, and even independent contractors. everyone who is working in our economy in this country should have protections from sexual harassment in the workplace. that seems like an obvious --
[applause] >> caitlin flanagan, you have written extensively about this #metoo moment for "the atlantic." i want to ask about your column that came out this past week. the headline was "i believe her," the "her" being professor ford. and you talk about your personal experience of a boy who tried to rape you in high school, a cute senior, and you were in a parking lot on a beach. what is it about this moment that made you want to share that story publicly now? >> i feel that, because, you know, i read all kinds of things about feminism, where feminism has gone into things where it does not belong, so i thought he
was -- i thought i was a credible voice to say me too. i absolutely feel very clearly that she is telling the truth and that i went through something very much like that. and it was very embarrassing for me to share it, very embarrassing. i didn't know how embarrassing it was going to be until i had done it. i had an idea, but i did not really know. and everybody was so kind afterwards. and that was also embarrassing in some weird way, because of my masochism. but then last night, someone sent me this, ben sasse, a republican senator? so he read my piece on the senate floor. they sent me the link. it was a little odd to see this man reading my words, and he tears up and says, isn't this so heartbreaking that happened to mrs. flanagan? that's my mother.
i'm not mrs. flanagan. i'm sure it happened to her, too. i thought, oh, good, he is going to change his vote. so i thought that was worth it. if he doesn't change his vote, i'm driving to nebraska. because, what the hell? you get up there -- i will really feel that he used to me. i really will feel that he -- and maybe he will change his vote and then i will be, like, yeah, nebraska. >> you've got to call him and make the case. >> i just felt for him to read that and to tear up about mrs. flanagan and not to change a vote -- i would feel exploited by that, i don't know. we all feel exploited. i feel exploited. >> what is interesting to me is the direction you took the
essay, which is to explore forgiveness and redemption, and frame it as a question -- should something a 17-year-old boy did prevent him from being confirmed a supreme court justice at the age of 53? which is a live question in the u.s. senate today, a few blocks from here. the boy and your case, he wrote you an apology in your yearbook? >> a very heartfelt apology. he took me to a beach and he really did try to rape me. it was a fight and it was awful. but then in my yearbook, it was a really weird place for such a heartfelt communication that he felt it was entirely his fault. he has great respect for me and thought i would succeed in life and he saw i was a smart person. two years later, he came to me again to apologize. it was so powerful because we did not have the idea of date rape at that time. for him to say this had nothing to do with you and you are a smart person and you will be a successful person -- he did not say you are a pretty girl. he said you are a smart person
and you will be a successful person and i made a mistake, that had such weight for me. it really carried a lot of value for me that he owned that and he apologized. and he said you may do no mistakes. so i am struck by judge kavanaugh and i are both catholics. it's like forgiveness, a biology, grace, all of that, i see none of that. maybe he did not do it. i'm not certain. >> should something that happened at age 17 have these consequences at age 53? >> oh, of course. for those two guys, it was probably a lot, a funny thing, a drunken crazy thing on a night of a bunch of drunken crazy incidents. and for her, it lasted her whole life.
and the weight is so different, the funny little thing that you do with your buddy and the you do something else versus her whole life being traumatized by this. i think absolutely it should be something to preclude -- if you haven't done any kind of time or penance in any way, sure, that is something i would say would disqualify for a lot of positions. >> just to push back and give you a quick chance at this one -- as you just said, there is not a lot of corroborating evidence. we will see, maybe we will get some sense of what the fbi supplemental investigation finds. the white house says there is nothing it to preclude the vote from going ahead. that would be the white house position. that is a question in a lot of republicans' minds -- how do you get ahead of that if there is not corroboration? there's no evidence. >> this makes me think of two
things. one is my friend, brian stephenson, who works on criminal justice issues, he often talks about truth and reconciliation. yes, we need both, and it is sequential. we need truth before we can get to reconciliation. [applause] we need to have a collective truth-telling and a real honest conversation about what is happening in our country, the severe and toxic power imbalance that leaves women so vulnerable to sexual violence and harassment. and i also think that, longer and term, we need to talk about masculinity. there needs to be a vision for masculinity and strength inside of masculinity that does not come at the expense of women. this is not a partisan issue. this is not -- this is actually a question of what kind of world we want to bring our children and our grandchildren into.
and also now about the sanctity of our democratic institutions. >> you just said a bunch of things i want to follow on. but we need to wrap. if i asked each of you for one word that captures how you are feeling about this moment, where you are at, what would that would be? >> sad. sad. >> sad. >> not hopeful? >> in this very moment, i am incredibly nervous and fearful of what might happen. i think we are in a profound moral choice point. and i am calling on every member of the senate to understand the incredible generational weight of this moral choice point and all of us in this room. it is profound, this moment we
are in and has implications for women and our children, all children, for generations to come. >> thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> live-call in program on sunday. watch "in depth" with geraldine brooks live sunday from noon until 3:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> will be from cedar falls,
iowa between rod blum and democratic state representative abby finkenauer competing for iowa's first congressional district which voted for donald trump and 2016 after voting for barack obama in 2012. the debate comes as courtesy from kwwl-tv. this is an -- in waterloo, iowa. good evening, everyone. welcome to the beautiful performing arts center here on the beautiful campus of the university of northern iowa in cedar falls. welcome to the first debate between the two candidates for first sister congress here -- first district congress here. the first incumbent is rod blum. democratic state representative abby finkenauer. there on the stage ready for tonight's debate. >>